Y/1694 PTE. J. MORRIS. K.R.R.C.
John Morris was born in Bolton in July 1885 but the family moved to Lostock View soon after, living a couple of doors away from the Faircloughs. His father was William Morris (b. 1857 in Burnley), a spinner by trade. His mother was Margaret Smethurst (b. 1859 in Bolton). William and Margaret were married at Great Lever in 1882 and had 5 children, Lily (b. 1883), John, James (b. 1887), Annie (b. 1891) and Bertha (b. 1894). Margaret died in 1894 and John remarried. His second wife (Emma) died in 1901 and the following year, John married a third time, to Margaret Burrows (b. 1862 in Tarleton).
In 1911, John was a barman at the Railway Hotel, living with his parents and sisters Annie and Bertha at 127 Watkin Lane. By 1914 he was working at the new Whalley Asylum where he was in charge of the works canteen. Whalley County Asylum was under construction in 1914 when it was offered to the War Office as a Military Hospital. In 1915 it became Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, housing up to 2,500 patients. After the War it became Calderstones Hospital.
John enlisted at Clitheroe with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and was given service number Y/1694 and posted to 3rd Battalion. After initial training he joined the Bn in France on 24 March 1915 and was killed exactly one month later.
In April 1915, 3/KRRC started the month in billets at Poperinghe, then moved to the trenches. On 22 April, they heard that the Germans had mounted an attack near Hill 60 and had used poison gas. Under intense shelling and rifle fire on the 24/25 they were forced to withdraw. (John Morris was killed during this action, he was 29 years old). The scene was chaotic and the officer writing the War Diary complained of being in complete ignorance of the situation. "In the last week without any fighting we have lost 1/10 of our effectives nearly all from shellfire”. During the month they had 2 officers and 22 other ranks killed, 54 wounded and more than 60 sick.
Service No: Y/1694
Date of Death: 24/04/1915
Regiment/Service: King's Royal Rifle Corps, 3rd Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 51 and 53.